Thursday, May 29, 2008

John Marshall House notes, Thursday 5/29

We are about ready to enter the summer season. Last week we had a taste of potentially higher guest and gift shop revenues. There was a large volleyball tournament in town and the parents and children of those playing would walk down the two blocks from the Richmond Convention Center to do a bit of site seeing. Our new fence gate, thanks to Mike and the Jamestown Restoration Crew, has added to the overall "curb appeal" of the house. Our garden continues to be a draw and will soon be "updated" with the semi-annual donation of 300 annual by Stranges Florist of Richmond. Plans for a summer "Garden Day" are underway and we hope to have 4th of July Celebration a day early on July 3rd. Those program plans are also in the process of being finalized.


The muleshop babies are all grown up. They are flying about the shop, while mom continues to feed them. They should be gone soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"The Hollow" roof

John Marshall's boyhood home in Fauquier county called "The Hollow" finally has a new roof, and tan lines. The roof was started by the restoration department in 2007, but due to supply problems could not be finished before winter of that year. The crew laid the final 7 rows needed to finish the roof by May 22, 2008. As you can see, considerable oxidation occurred over the winter months. The next phase of the project is to reopen the two back windows and install period reproduction heart poplar siding over almost the entire house.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Historic Jamestowne—a year after 2007

Maybe the Queen and the President are not on their way, there is still much activity at Historic Jamestowne.

April 1—Excavation site opened.
May 4-5 Bill Kelso takes Historic Jamestowne Rediscovery to the Big Apple with
speaking engagements at the University Club to the Colonia Dames and
at the Explorer’s Club.
May 10—Jamestown Landing Day in cooperation with the Jamestown Yorktown
Foundation welcomed visitors to enjoy educational and entertaining programs
May 13—Announcement of Virginia’s Most Endangered Sites on the 401st
anniversary at the site where our nation began, the statewide historic
preservation movement took some of its initial steps and historical archaeology was born and continues to be refined—see the list at
June 2—2008 Field School begins

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mulebarn Babies

Shhhh! Keep your voices down while in the mulebarn. Moma Wren has babies now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Marshall House Gated

The restoration crew took the tent down and finished installing the gate for the ninth street entrance at the John Marshall House on May 13th, 2008. The gate brings a "finished" look to the backyard. Retired coastguardsman and groundskeeper Harry Long is doing quality control for today's job.

Historic Smithfield New Roof

Historic Smithfield Plantation celebrated the completion of a new roof this spring. April 7, 2008 we were joined by First Lady of Virginia, Anne Holton, APVA Preservation VA Executive Director, Elizabeth Kostelny, APVA Preservation VA Director of Preservation Services, Loius Malon, Blacksburg Mayor, Ron Rordam and Norfolk -Southern Vice President of Coal, Danny Smith. Tom Tillar, president of the Smithfield-Preston Foundation also joined in the ceremony as he presented gifts to our guests.

The roof is a shake shingle roof in keeping with the original roof on the 1774 house. Wayne Simpson and his crew from New River Valley Roofing did the work in a very timely and skilled manor. Copper flashing was used around chimneys and corners as well as along the ridgeline. This will help to extend the life of the shingles as the rain will wash minerals from the copper over the roof which will inhibit the growth of algae and other things that speed disintegration of the shakes. The old roof was over 40 years old and had shown signs of failure as shingles had been blown off, rotted off or were harboring sites where things could actually grow!

We are extremely pleased with the new roof which was made possible through a generous grant from the Norfolk-Southern Foundation and support from APVA Preservation Virginia.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Poe House Shutters

The restoration crew fitted and installed new shutters on the Poe house on May 12th, 2008. We have one picture of an old shutter next to the new ones, and one of the house with shutters installed.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Leaning Chimney of Petersburg

I met on Wednesday with the contractor working up a proposal for correcting the lean on one of the four chimney stacks at the Farmer's Bank in Petersburg. This is one of the three stacks that was blown down by the Petersburg tornado in 1993. All were rebuilt at the time and the slate pyramidal roof enclosed by the chimneys also was rebuilt. This stack is strictly for uniformity. It rises above a stairwell and keeps the exterior of the house in symmetry, but serves no practical function (and never did). Due to either improper blocking or deterioration in one of the rafters supporting the ceiling joists, it began to show a marked tilt about three years ago. We opened a small hole in the ceiling directly under the chimney stack to try to get an indication of the reason, but until more is revealed, not a lot can be understood.

The first step is to scaffold the entire side of the building, remove the chimney stack and the inwardly curved section of the parapet wall. When the danger of collapse is removed, we can then open more of the ceiling and investigate the support system so we Can be assured the fix will last this time. Plans now call for the stack removal to begin within a couple of months. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dried in

The bacon's castle pumphouse has been "dried in" as of May 8th, 2008. It needs to be painted, insulated and have the door hung and interior paneling all in place before winter, because it does house plumbing, but its almost done. Karl finished rounding the oak shingles for the Hollow on the 7th, and Jon spent today finish coating fence parts for the Marshall House and picked up the necessary permit for the tent to be set up at Jamestown on the 16th.

Good Fences, Good Neighbors

A couple of years ago, with the support of the Higgins Family, we opened a second entrance into the John Marshall House property. Having lived for decades with just the front access from the sidewalk into the grounds, this second one, directly into the back yard garden opening off of 9th Street, has proven most helpful. It will also provide the main access to the property during the installation of the new roof, which is still scheduled to start any day now. While bringing up the tent for a weekend seminar, the crew began to install new posts, rails and pickets to incorporate the steps into the perimeter fence system around the property. They set the posts and added the rails. The pickets should come next week.

Longer term, there will additional changes to the back yard area. The City of Richmond gave the rest of the block directly behind our property to the John Marshall Foundation. This area will eventually be incorporated into the Marshall House experience as the brick pavers are removed and the grade raised to allow for more grass and plantings. The two yards will connect in some fashion and perhaps additional interpretive opportunities will arise as well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mulebarn Mischief

Our little wren has decided that a tool belt hanging on a post in the mulebarn is an excellent place to lay a clutch of eggs. Last year her nest was disturbed by the Canadians working on the Archaearium and eventually victimized by the shop snake. Time will tell if she made a better choice this year. We wish her good speed at raising her young and getting the heck out of our shop.